Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Perfect for business travelers, but leisure travelers might look elsewhere for a beachfront location, better amenities, and cheaper prices
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is an excellent business hotel, and offers more amenities (and correspondingly higher prices) than other city hotels like the Rosedon and Royal Palms. The rates are high when compared with beachfront resorts geared toward leisure travelers, however; it would appear that business travelers have crowned the Princess their home base, and the hotel has raised its rates accordingly.
Expansive and well-manicured grounds certainly give The Fairmont Hamilton Princess a resort-like vibe, though -- a koi pond filled with beautiful fish, a moon gate surrounded by a lush lawn, and plenty of pastel-colored Adirondack chairs lining the harbor make for plenty of leisure space. Two pools -- one freshwater and one saltwater -- also lend a mellow ambiance, as does Harley’s outdoor bar. But the majority of guests tend to be hurrying off to a meeting or huddling around a laptop. The restaurants are clearly geared toward a corporate clientele: The Heritage Bar just off the lobby looks like the kind of place you’d stop in for a cocktail after work, and Harley’s serves unexceptional, yet expensive cuisine -- perfect for an expensed meal on the go.
The Fairmont Gold rooms grant guests access to the stately Fairmont Gold lounge, an ornate, Gilded Age-style room with triple-height ceilings and furniture swathed in rich colors and fabric. Above a decorative marble-lined fireplace, you’ll find a painted portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, and throughout, plush velvet armchairs, regal crystal chandeliers, and slender Doric columns. An elaborate breakfast is served here every morning, and wine, drinks, and snacks are at the ready throughout the day. Computers with free Internet are located here as well.
The rest of the hotel’s amenities are piecemeal. The retail wing is lackluster with low ceilings and just a few shops that include a clothing store proudly exhibiting colorful Bermuda shorts, a day spa that looks no nicer than something you’d find at home, and a small coffee shop with snacks but no place to sit. Beautiful meeting rooms and ballrooms are a plus, with massive crystal chandeliers and elaborate carpeting, and plenty of comfortable lounging enclaves lining a corridor off the lobby. Otherwise, the fitness center is surprisingly small for the hotel’s size, as is the business center, which has just three computer stations. One highlight: The hotel’s free ferry taxis guests to the Fairmont Southampton’s dock at Little Sound, giving guests access to the other resort’s beach and amenities, as well as all of the area’s beaches and attractions.
Overall, it's definitely a premier pick for business travelers, but leisure travelers will find more amenities and private beach access at its impressive sister property, the Fairmont Southhampton.
Set along the harbor in downtown Hamilton with plenty of great restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions within walking distance
Bermuda is a unique island in that it has a well-established culture outside of the run-of-the-mill tourist spots. As a result, the city of Hamilton is a must-see attraction in itself, with plenty of restaurants, bars, historical monuments, and high-end shops to occupy an afternoon. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is within walking distance to all of Hamilton’s greatest offerings, including the ferry terminal that takes passengers to destinations like the Royal Naval Dockyard. For an expedited trip to Southampton, the hotel’s free guest-only ferry runs throughout the day to Little Sound, from which the Fairmont Southampton’s trolley will drop guests at the hotel or private beach. Additionally, a moped rental outpost is just a few blocks from the hotel.
In an effort to permit as few vehicles as possible on the island, car rentals are strictly forbidden. Even locals are allowed only a single car per household -- something you’ll notice when you see the lush, winding roads that unobtrusively snake through the island. Taxis are reliable and metered according to state law, so there is no need to negotiate fares; however, rates are exceptionally high.
Those looking to save on cab fare might consider renting a moped, the islanders’ preferred mode of transportation. While safety may be an issue for some, a local speed limit of just 35 km (about 21 mph) will likely assuage most fears. Consider the less expensive ferries and local pink-and-blue buses to cover longer distances between “the hook” (Bermuda’s westernmost island), the main city of Hamilton, and the beaches along the southern side of Warwick and Southampton.
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess may not be the most updated resort in Bermuda, but its beautiful rooms feel fresh and modern.
The rooms are the one aspect of The Fairmont Hamilton Princess that trumps its sister property, the Southampton. Fabrics are elegant and plush, furniture is ornate yet contemporary, and spotless bathrooms have marble and stone surfaces, showers with multiple showerheads, and shiny accessories. Technology is modern (no tube televisions here), furnishings are colorful and comfy, and minibars are packed to the brim with goodies.
Of course, The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is an historic hotel dating back to 1885, so the units have their quirks -- most notably the variation in room layout and size. Though square footage is pretty standardized, some units feature smaller bathrooms and larger bedrooms, while others in the same room category have larger bathrooms and smaller bedrooms. Also a drawback: Not all the rooms have balconies -- a major letdown on an island, whether at a beachfront property or not.
The most amenities of any Hamilton hotel, but not much when compared to resorts around the island
Two mediocre restaurants, an on-the-go coffee shop for convenient snacks
The two restaurants -- Harley’s with a poolside bar and grill as well as an indoor dining room, and Heritage Court, by the lobby -- lack character and cost too much for what you get. Luckily the hotel's proximity to downtown and some of the area's best restaurants means you won't be relegated to mediocre dining. Nearby, Ascot’s Restaurant at the Royal Palms is a truly exceptional experience, as is the Fairmont Southampton’s amazing steakhouse, Waterlot Inn.
The older of the two Fairmont properties in Bermuda, this 410-room hotel is located in the city center and features a lovely harbor view, two restaurants, and two pools. On its own, the property holds up as a great business hotel; leisure travelers, however, can find less expensive options with beachfront locations and more amenities.